Ohio State Parks Department of Natural Resources

Fall in Ohio 005In my quest to do more in Ohio than just work my day job, I found myself at Hocking Hills one beautiful, crisp Saturday in the fall. My good friend Naila of Spirit Syrup joined me. It is less than 2 hours away from Columbus, and gave us plenty of time to talk and get lost in a little self-reflection. We were both not our usual selves for different reasons, but instead of needing alone time we needed time with the kind of friend that can pour good energy into your soul. We also let the magic of mother nature swirl around us and renew our minds. It was one of those moments of feeling like I am breathing air that isn’t recycled from someone else’s lungs. Don’t get me wrong I like city living, but sometimes I can have the claustrophobic sense that I am breathing previously breathed air and constantly occupying shared space. It makes me long for my own air and my own space. That is what I got here, even though we were by no means alone.

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Sign for Old Man Cave

Anyway, Hocking Hills isn’t a part of the federal national park system, but is a state park. I am guessing the main difference is who funds the upkeep. It has miles of hiking trails and something to discover around every bend. It is known for a cave called Old Man’s Cave, but we couldn’t find it. I swear we saw one sign, that said to take a pathway, only to find another sign half an hour later saying to go back the way we had come. I would have said it was just our navigations skills, if several people hadn’t stopped to ask us if we knew how to get to the cave. But like most adventures, even when you don’t end up where you were planning to go, you still manage to get where you should be. For me most things are about the journey.

 

Naila Chauncey

Naila

I know I have mentioned before that one of my favorite things about the parks in Ohio is the fact that they make it easy for you. Unlike hiking in California on barely discernible trails, “hiking” in Ohio involves boardwalks and stairs built right up to the place you are trying to go. It is literally impossible to get lost! OK, you can get a little lost, since we didn’t manage to find the Old Man’s Cave. But not trapped at night in the park lost, where they have to send out search parties…

Me, taken by Naila

Me, taken by Naila

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Wandering

Roots run deep

Roots run deep

A peak at the sky

A peak at the sky

 

Taken by Naila - Shrooms

Taken by Naila – Shrooms

I am sure that you have noticed that there are a lot of pictures of pathways, staircases and bridges. They seem so much a part of the landscape. Though clearly man-made, they just kind of belonged…

taken by Naila - Pathway

taken by Naila – Pathway

 

Pathway, but notice the sign for Old Man's Cave - we seriously just came from the direction it is pointing!

Pathway, but notice the sign for Old Man’s Cave (on the right) – we seriously just came from the direction it is pointing!

 

Mini Falls

Mini Falls

 

The Bridge

The Bridge

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Sunlight filtering in through the trees.

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Stepping Stones?

The only modern looking stairs in the whole place, somehow not incongruent

The only modern looking stairs in the whole place, somehow not incongruent

 

If you are within driving distance of Logan, OH. I would suggest a stop at Hocking Hills. You won’t be disappointed. And if you manage to reach Old Man’s Cave send me a picture and draw a map! Regardless, of where you live there is a little bit of nature waiting nearby to be explored. You will likely never find the time to go, but you can always make the time.

Breathe Deeply…